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Screen Gems of the American Riviera


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) gets a lot of press, some of it deserved. However, Santa Barbara itself is a hotbed of moviemaking, with eminent and not so eminent directors flocking to our town to make their films. We’re near enough to Hollywood, and picturesque scenery is abundant - what’s not to love for the director on a budget?

Some of the films partially made here, such as It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Graduate, and The Ten Commandments, have gone down in movie history. Weird SB is not concerned with these.

It’s the lesser-sung gems filmed in Santa Barbara that capture my interest. In 1988, director Mark Pirro chose Santa Barbara as a location for shooting Curse of the Queerwolf, which follows the adventures of a man tragically bitten on the ass by a transvestite. Although this film is listed by several gay and lesbian film archives, and occasionally shown as a curiosity, it hasn’t achieved nearly the notoriety it deserves it seems like it should at least have made the cut for badmovies.org.

Another winner shot here was Sex, Shoes & Unicorns, which drew audiences with the scintillating tagline “What’s more important: friendship, sex… or designer shoes at 50 percent off?” Other efforts released in 2005 include Perspectives, a documentary about Isla Vista recycling, and an episode of MTV’s series My Super Sweet 16, in which the birthday party was held at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito.

Although these above may be the best of the worst Santa Barbara on-location shoots, honorable mention should go to Jungle Village Turtle Time, Sister Mary Catherine’s Happy Fun-Time Abortion Adventure, Big Boobs, Blond Babes, Bad Blood, and Four Fags in a Fabulous Car, simply for their titles alone.

The first is a kids’ movie, the next some sort of comedy, although Catholics and audiences alike may fail to see the humor - for the tasteless subject matter or the poor filmmaking, respectively. Big Boobs is actually a documentary about movies made in the horror/slasher/skin flick genre, and the last, well - the title says it all.

So keep in mind, when you’re lining up for tickets to the SBIFF this spring, that the glamorous and famous are not the only categories of Santa Barbara film star. There are also the unknown, the unsung, and the undeserving - all of which can be conveniently found on Netflix.

Seen anything strange lately? Let us know about it, and you may see a solution to the mystery here. Contact Elena at weirdsb@gmail.com.



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